15-year-old who started Columbia Gorge fire ordered to pay $37M - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

15-year-old who started Columbia Gorge fire ordered to pay $37M

Posted: Updated:

5-21-18 UPDATE:

HOOD RIVER, OR (AP) - A teenager who started a major wildfire in the scenic Columbia River Gorge in Oregon has been ordered to pay restitution for at least the next decade, though it's unlikely the boy will ever cover his nearly $37 million bill.

The Oregonian reports that the Hood River County Circuit judge issued an opinion on Monday awarding the restitution to cover the costs of firefighting, repair and restoration to the gorge and damage to homes.

The 15-year-old from Vancouver, Washington, said he threw two fireworks last September that caused flames to spread quickly, causing evacuations and devastation to a major outdoor tourist attraction.

The boy can set up a payment plan, though payments can be halted after 10 years as long as he complies, completes probation and doesn't commit other crimes.

(Copyright 2018 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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10-19-17 ORIGINAL STORY:

OREGON - On behalf of the Hood River County River District Attorney's Office:

"When the Eagle Creek fire erupted a criminal investigation was immediately begun by the Oregon State Police. US Forest Service investigators have been assisting the State Police in this ongoing investigation. As a result of the investigation legal proceedings have been commenced in the Hood River County Circuit Court. A fifteen year old boy recently appeared and was arraigned on a Juvenile Court Petition.

Allegations in the Petition include acts of Reckless Burning, Depositing Burning Materials on Forest Lands, Unlawful Possession of Fireworks, Criminal Mischief and Recklessly Endangering Other Persons. The charging petition was filed by the Hood River County Juvenile Department at the direction of the Hood River County District Attorney John Sewell. The Hood River County District Attorney's office has been acting in cooperation with the Multnomah County District Attorney's office. Although extensive damage caused by the wildfire occurred in both Hood River and Multnomah Counties, Oregon's juvenile code dictates that legal proceedings be commenced in the county where the illegal act originally occurred, which is Hood River County.

The District Attorney's office, the Oregon State Police and the Hood River County Juvenile Department will have no further comment until the case has been resolved."

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